Truth about the Co-op Ordinance

Rebecca Davies stated in her letter of 12/30: “There is no reason that a co-op with six unrelated people will be more disruptive to a neighborhood than a house with two adults and four children who are all related.” Most neighborhood residents would agree that a co-op with six residents could be tolerated. Unfortunately, that’s not what the ordinance that the City Council intends to pass on Tuesday (1/3) is about. The new rules would allow twelve to fifteen unrelated adult residents to occupy a house as small as 2,000 square feet – and that is certain to be more disruptive than almost anything that would normally be permitted in a residential neighborhood.

A few other widespread misconceptions about the co-op ordinance should also be corrected:

  • It’s not about planned co-housing, it’s about turning houses designed for single-family living into high-occupancy boarding houses.
  • It’s not about “aging in place” for senior citizens. There are other more appropriate ways to allow seniors to share housing.
  • It has nothing to do with ADUs or other forms of owner-occupied rental properties.
  • It’s not about affordable housing for teachers, firefighters, and the vast majority of Boulder’s thousands of in-commuters.
  • It has nothing at all to do with the existing “co-ops” Masala, Ostara, and Chrysalis – these will continue to operate as they have for years regardless of whether this ordinance is passed in any form or rejected altogether.

City Council should carefully read Steve Pomerance’s column of 12/29, and Stacey Goldfarb’s Guest Opinion of 12/31 for some ideas about how to fix the co-op proposal before it becomes another fiasco.

Steven Meier

Editor’s note: a version of this article has been published in the Daily Camera as a Letter to the Editor: Steven Meier: Correcting misconceptions about the co-op ordinance